As baseball’s hot stove season starts to heat up, now that we are well past the 5 days after the World Series for the free-agent pool to take shape, 29 teams are looking to re-shape their rosters in an effort to dethrone the World Champion Royals.
In Boston, one of the few bright spots in what was a disappointing season was the emergence of OF Jackie Bradley, Jr. (Prince George). Bradley made Red Sox brass sit up and take notice, playing in 74 games and batting .249 with 10 HR and 43 RBIs. While this may not seem like great numbers, please remember that he was coming off campaigns where he was lucky to crack .200 for his average.
Let me preface this by saying that there is no obligation to trade Bradley. He seems to have saved his major league career for now, and could be a valuable part of an up-and-coming Red Sox team that is rebuilding after 3 championships in 10 years. However, should they decide to part with him, there will definitely be no shortage of suitors. The Seattle Mariners are looking at him, among other options. Also emerging as potential trade partners are the Chicago Cubs and the aforementioned champion Kansas City Royals.
In San Diego, 2015 marked an all-in year for the Padres. New GM AJ Preller made a slew of moves for the ’15 campaign, which was designed to be an “all-in” year, one shot to, at the very least, re-ignite the Padres frustrated fan base, and, at the most, go for a playoff spot. While the Padres fell short of their goal of making the postseason, one of the few bright spots was the play of newly-acquired OF Justin Upton (Chesapeake). Upton, acquired from the Braves as part of a new-look OF in San Diego, paid dividends, batting .251 with 26 HRs and 81 RBIs, and made his 3rd NL all-star team.
The Padres then rewarded him by extending a Qualifying Offer, a 1-year deal at $15.8 million. Upton had until Friday, 11/13, at 5PM to accept. If he accepted it, he would play the 2016 season under a 1-yr contract at the aforementioned amount. If he turns it down, he becomes a free agent, and if he signs elsewhere, that team loses a draft choice.
Upton chose the latter, and will become a free agent. We will see where he ends up signing.